Roping Public Lands
As we expected, it didn’t take too long for politicians to start resurrecting public lands takeover legislation. This past Monday, Senator Sheryl Nuxoll (Cottonwood, LD. 7), introduced a Catastrophic Public Nuisance bill via the Idaho Freedom Foundation in another attempt to forcibly takeover our public lands. However, the state cannot afford the tens of millions it would cost to manage public lands. Fortunately, the bill was found to have some language inconsistencies and was withdrawn. Read more about committee hearing here.
Labeling our public lands a nuisance in an attempt to make a grab at them is wrong of Senator Nuxoll and wrong for Idaho.
Capitol Roundup–3 Important Things
Oil & Gas Extraction
The Oil and Gas Industry would like less oversight and proposed legislation that would transfer the authority of the Oil & Gas Commission to the Department of Lands, shorten timelines to process applications, and make it easier for them to take over the mineral rights of rural Idahoans. We don’t have to choose between a strong economy and protecting clean air and water. We can do both.
Suction Dredge Mining
Rep. Paul Shepherd (Riggins, LD 7) is back with his Suction Dredge mining bill. This is his third time attempting to open up extensive miles of Idaho’s beautiful and scenic rivers and waterways to harmful suction dredge mining that decimates fish populations and puts harmful toxins like mercury into our waterways. Why is he willing to put fisheries at harm and pollute our clean water for the recreational hobby of a few? His bill would allow “small scale” suction dredge miners to move a dump truck of sediment from our river beds, an hour, without a permit. That’s not small scale and that’s not okay.
Online Voter Registration
On a positive note, a bill was proposed in Senate State Affairs that would pave the way for online voter registration. Across the nation, currently 30 other states and the District of Columbia have some form of online voter registration. The best thing anyone can do for the environment is to vote, and this will make it easier for all Idahoans to participate in the electoral process. Check out the bill here.